Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Dorset and Somerset Canal: Nettlebridge Branch

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Edford packhorse bridge. This is the most westerly of the canal's identified structures
Coleford Aqueduct: Photo indicates the impressive scale of the arches
Coleford Aqueduct: Growth of vegetation threatens to dislodge masonry
Bridge south of Vobster Cross carried road over canal. The parapet has been renewed

Note: This is a subsection of the Dorset and Somerset Canal

This canal was intended to connect Nettlebridge to Frome, 11 miles to the east, serving coal mines en route. The route was authorised in 1796, and much of the branch was constructed, but funding ran out in 1803 and the canal was abandoned before completion.

A leaflet describing the surviving features and their location is available via this link.

Two aqueducts have survived. See Murtry Aqueduct.

It was intended to have a series of five novel balance locks designed by James Fussell IV of James Fussell and Sons and Co. One of these was constructed by Fussell, and succesfully demonstrated. Boats were floated in counterbalanced iron caissons. Remarkably, thanks to the efforts of the Dorset & Somerset Canal Group, the site of the prototype lock was identified on private land. With the landowner's permission the overgrown site was cleared and excavated, revealing the well-preserved masonry chambers. Description here.

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